The Winners: Seven News was tops with 1.903 million (mainly because Nine News didn’t air in Perth). Nine News was second with 1.883 million, Seven’s Border Security was next with 1.766 million and its new program, Triple Zero Heroes, was next at 8pm with 1.732 million. The evening session of the One Day International cricket from around 6.30pm on Nine averaged a very sold 1.657 million and Seven’s new program, Sunday Night, debuted at 6.30pm with a very sound 1.628 million. City Homicide was 7th with a solid 1.417 million viewers for Seven against Nine’s cricket, Ten’s So You Think You Can Dance Australia averaged 1.204 million at 7.30pm to 9pm. The afternoon session of the cricket (when Australia was batting) averaged 1.145 million and the 7pm ABC News averaged 1.036 million for 10th spot and the last program, on the million viewer list. The Biggest Loser weigh in with 840,000.

The Losers: First night of ratings, a huge running story. Ten took a battering, as did the ABC, and SBS: no real losers.

News & CA: The different timed and finishing news broadcasts made it hard last night to work out who was ahead. On the early figures, Seven was on top thanks to no Nine News in Perth. Nine News had more viewers in Sydney Melbourne and Adelaide than Seven. Seven had more viewers in Brisbane. Ten News averaged 726,000. SBS News at 6.30pm averaged 91,000: it was really squashed by the cricket and Seven’s Sunday Night. Dateline averaged 167,000 at 8.30pm last night for the first time.

In the morning Weekend Sunrise averaged 482,000, Today on Sunday got a real boost to 389,000. but Sunrise kept going and from 10am to 11am and averaged 674,000 (which was the figure for Kochie’s Business Builders and another program, According to Jim, which both didn’t go to air yesterday). That shows the level of interest in the fires nationally on Sunday morning. Insiders on the ABC returned with 227,000, Inside Business at 10am, 154,000. Weekend Sunrise early at 7.30am, 227,000. Offsiders on the ABC at 10.30am, 136,000. Meet The Press on Ten at 8am, 72,000.

The Stats: Nine won All People 6pm to midnight with a share of 34.0% to 30.9% for Seven. Ten was on 18.7%, the ABC, 13.7% and SBS on 2.7%. Nine won Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Seven won Brisbane and Perth. In regional areas WIN/NBN won with 33.9% from Prime./7Qld with 27.6%, Southern Cross (Ten) with 18.7%, the ABC with 15.0% and SBS with 4.9%.

Glenn Dyer’s comments: A winning cricket team made the difference for Nine last night. On Friday night Australians deserted the cricket and Nine, allowing Seven to win with a fairly normal night of programs. The strong coverage of the Victorian bushfires made the preliminary ratings a bit ropey. More accurate figures won’t become available until later today when broadcasts times are worked out and checked against the ratings. (Seven’s 6pm News started at 4.30pm and went to Seven in Melbourne, 6pm in Sydney, when the Sydney 6pm bulletin started).

Having the cricket average 1.657 million from around 6.30pm all the way to close to 10pm outweighed solid figures Seven received for the first episode of the new current affairs program, Sunday Night, and the switched Border Security at 7.30pm and new program Triple Zero Heroes at 8pm. If they can pull those figures when 60 Minutes returns in a fortnight, then the venerable Nine program faces a tough slog this year. Nine has a Twenty20 between Australia and the Kiwis next Sunday night from 7.30pm.

In the battle between Seven and Nine last night, Ten was squeezed. The less than 900,000 viewers for the first weigh-in for The Biggest Loser will disappoint. Rove was OK. The early rankings says Seven’s The Rich List averaged 856,000 at 5pm: it didn’t, it was Seven’s early starting special evening news bulletin. Nine clearly didn’t have the resources to do what Seven did yesterday, but held its own.

TONIGHT: Top Gear on SBS at 7.30pm. Four Corners at 8.30pm on the ABC returns with Paul Barry reporting on the financial crisis. Talking Heads, Media Watch and Australian Story also return tonight. Andrew Denton’s hole a is at 9.30pm. Difference of Opinion has been kept on Thursday nights. Seven has How I Met Your Mother, Desperate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters. Ten has The Biggest Loser, the Dance Australia thingie, Good News Week returning and then Dexter who also is back.

Nine has the Underbelly pre-quel at 8.30pm. Before that it has Customs, hosted by Vince Colosimo.

Source: OzTAM, TV Networks reports

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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